Snapping Turtle Chelydra serpentina

Description: 8 - 14 inches. The shells of Snapping Turtles vary in color from shades of brown to black. Algae growing on the shell may make it appear to be different shades of green as well. The scales on the top of the shell are peaked, forming three ridges down its length. As the turtle ages, these peaks are usually worm smooth, but some traces of these ridges usually remain visible. The tail is as long as the upper shell (carapace), and have a row of "sawteeth" along the top. The bottom shell (plastron) is much smaller than the upper shell, and is black in young Snapping Turtles, but becomes lighter with age.

Similar Species: None.

Status: Level II - Species of Conservation Priority (learn more)

Comments: May be found statewide.

Distribution Map
Distribution map of Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)

County level distribution of this species in North Dakota. Map generated from data collected from voucher specimens and photographic records.

Photographs